I've Got Your Back

by Kathy Teresa

ATF Universe

Chapter 17

Chris felt it first. A slight resistance underneath his hands. A quiver of flesh as if the skin had suddenly received an electrical signal. Looking up he saw Nathan lift his hands nodding in satisfaction as a heart beat appeared across the monitor next to Vin's body. "I'm getting spontaneous breathing." The paramedic who was supplying oxygen for Vin grinned shortly then became all business again. "Okay, look we've got the helicopter waiting down below. Normally I'd put the MAST trousers on him to stabilize what I suspect is a fractured hip or pelvis. Was he shot?" The medic was quickly getting information and making decisions as the continued to watch Vin's heart rapidly beat on the monitor screen.

"Yes. Shot from about eight stories down. But with a low velocity weapon. Not a rifle. Can't tell about an exit wound, there's just been too much blood. And...." Nathan gestured to the blood covering Vin, Chris, Josiah and his clothing. Just thankful you got here when you did. "

The paramedic shook his head as he handed the ambu breathing bag over to Nathan. "No, if you hadn't started those IV fluids. There would have been no way for us to replace the blood he's lost. Let's get him on the backboard. I'm gonna need one of you to continue holding pressure on that leg. You doing okay?" The medic looked at Chris and received an affirmative nod in return.

"It's a long way down. We're just gonna have to go slowly. Phil, you got that epinephrine drip to hang?" Seeing his partner connect the drug to Vin's arm IV, he started giving instructions to all the men about getting Vin on the backboard.

It took the men about ten minutes to get Vin safely down. More fluids had been poured into his body and the epinephrine infusion kept his heart rate and pressure at a level that would perfuse his brain and kidneys. Chris's arms were beyond aching by the time they got to the helicopter. A flight nurse and another paramedic had blood ready to hang as the men loaded Vin inside. Placing him on a portable respirator, the flight team rapidly infused the blood and started closing up the doors to the chopper. Seeing the look on Chris' face, the flight nurse leaned out and spoke over the noise of the whirling blades.

"I'm sorry. There isn't room for you. We'll be to the trauma center in less than five minutes. I'll take very good care of your friend. Very good care." With that she closed the door and the speed of the blades increased. Backing off with the others, Chris suddenly collapsed to the ground unable to stand any longer.

"Chris?" Nathan bent down beside him. Seeing the exhaustion covering Chris's face, Nathan sat down beside him and took the water bottle from the paramedic. Offering it to Chris, Nathan frowned at Chris's refusal. "Chris here. You need this."

Chris nodded his head and tried to raise his arms. He was unable to move them. Lifting them to take the water bottle was simply beyond his ability. "Can't Nathan. My arms. Legs. No strength. Can't move."

Nathan nodded his head knowingly. "Open up." Chris obeyed and drank a generous amount of the fluids he was offered. "Looks like Buck could use some." Nathan looked in the direction Chris was nodding and saw that their team member was bent on his hands and knees retching his guts out. Sobbing and retching, Buck's back shuttered at the effort.

Josiah saw Nathan looking his way and rose up off the ground. "I'll handle it Brother Nathan." Making his way toward Buck, Josiah was relieved to see the van pull up with JD driving.

"Vin, okay?" JD jumped from the van followed by Ezra. Running up to Nathan and Chris, JD stopped short looking at the blood covering both men. Bending down, he asked quietly. "You guys okay? Shall I get the medics back? Nathan? Where's all this blood..." JD didn't finish. Nathan quietly placed his hand on JD's arm.

"We're fine, JD. Calm down." Nathan watched as Chris was finally able to lift the water bottle on his own. "Go get the van and bring it over. We need to get to the hospital now."

Looking again from Chris to Nathan, JD was unsure. "But the blood?"

"It's Vin's." Chris let Nathan help him to his feet. Waiting until he was steady, Chris turned his back to both men and walked slowly toward the waiting van.

Ezra approached Chris to update him on the fate of the prisoners. Seeing the expression on all of the men and the blood soaked clothing they wore, Ezra changed his mind and headed for the driver's side door. Getting in, he started the van and waited till the others were safely inside. Pulling out to the street Ezra began the drive to Four Corner's General.


The trauma team had been alerted by the Medical Helicopter. Vin had maintained his heart rate and breathing but was still bleeding profusely despite the efforts of the flight team. A vascular surgeon had been called in and was waiting with the team. With an OR waiting, the team planned only a short stay in the trauma room to make sure there were no other injuries. Hearing the chattering blades of the chopper, the team readied themselves for the short fierce battle they were about to undertake to save a man's life.

Vin was still unresponsive and bleeding as he was unloaded from the chopper. Despite having been given two units of O-Negative blood during the trip, Vin's blood pressure remained dangerously low. What he really needed was for someone to fix the hole in his artery. The man in charge of that issue quickly took over holding the direct pressure the paramedic had been holding. Seeing the blood still flowing freely when they changed over, he made a quick decision.

"Okay, look I wanna go straight to the operating room. If we don't fix this arterial rupture, he can't survive. Someone get the elevator and call ahead to the OR team. Tell them we're coming right away." Looking at the trauma nurse, he asked. "You got that rapid infuser with more blood ready?" She nodded yes and ran ahead to get it ready.

When the team reached the triage area, Vin was kept on the helicopter stretcher and the blood hooked up quickly. Watching as the blood was pushed into the young agent blood stream, the surgeon looked at his resident. "He's young and he got great outside care. Let's see what we can do to make sure his family gets to see him alive again. Ready?" When the resident nodded quickly, they loaded Vin into the elevator and quickly made their way to the operating room with their precious cargo.

Chapter 18

Moving Vin carefully to the OR studio, the team worked quickly to settle him on the surgical table and begin infusing more blood. The anesthesiologist stabilized his breathing tube and began monitoring his vital signs. Everyone worked as a team to get the young sharpshooter settled. No one missed the young vulnerable look on the man's face. Such violence should not come to the young. Even to those who's job it was to make everyone's world safe.

Twenty minutes later Ezra eased the van into the Emergency driveway. Nathan had to help Chris out of the van even after the short rest he had received on the drive. He was worried at the drawn and exhausted look on Chris's face. A look he hadn't seen since the death of his wife and child four years earlier.

Buck choose to remain in the van with JD and Josiah until he felt more under control. Ezra went with Nathan and Chris. Their minds still trying to decide how one person could loose so much blood and still be alive. Ezra noticed Nathan hovering close to Chris and took in the vacant exhausted look in their leader's eyes. Moving ahead Ezra made his way to the Triage area to learn where Vin had been taken.

The only thing that could be seen of Vin Tanner was his tape - covered face and his left foot. A nurse had attached a Doppler device that searched for blood flow in Vin's left foot. If it found a pulse it meant that blood was still getting to his lower leg and foot and that he wouldn't be in less danger of losing his leg from lack of blood supply.

The surgeon and his staff worked with few words. They knew that speed and precision were utmost in getting Vin's artery repaired. Their young patient had already received a lot of blood, most of it not his own type. After forty minutes of surgery, Vin's blood pressure and heart rate were almost normal. The doctors were finished repairing the torn artery but X- rays had shown that Vin's pelvis was fractured. The bullet, a 9mm automatic had been found buried in his muscle tissue, and while it had not gone through the pelvis the force had been enough to put a long fracture through the left side of Vin's bone.

"Jack? What do you think?" The vascular surgeon glanced over at the orthopedic specialist who held Vin's x-ray up to the light.

"Impact of the bullet did a nice job on the acetabulum. Amazing that it didn't fracture completely in two. Since you're already inside, my suggestion would be to place an internal fixator." The man set down the X-ray and took his place opposite the vascular surgeon still working on Vin. "Is he stable enough to do this now? It would be easiest and will probably help stop some of those small bleeders."

Both men turned toward the anesthelogist, who was watching Vin's vital signs closely. The doctor raised her head toward the surgeons. Knowing that they wanted to continue to operate, she spoke. "Well, I've finally caught up with his volume status. His heart rate is down and his blood pressure is holding, but I don't want to spend too much longer with him under anesthesia. How much more time do you need, gentlemen?"

The orthopedic surgeon paused looking down into Vin's open wound. "Give me half and hour to forty minutes? If we get in trouble, I can stop and close." Seeing the anesthelogist give her approval, he moved back to gather his supplies.


Chris sat with his head resting on his arms. A blanket was spread over his shoulders and Nathan hovered nearby. The healer kept his distance knowing Chris hated being fussed over. After finding that Vin was still in surgery but still alive, Nathan had watched Chris walk aimlessly around the waiting room. When he stumbled against a chair the second time in fifteen minutes, Nathan had insisted Chris sit down. Nathan had expected his boss to resist, but instead Chris had only slumped into a chair and put his head down on his arms. Ezra had found a blanket and after a while Chris stopped shivering and sat still.

Leaving Ezra to watch Chris, Nathan made his way back out to the parking lot. JD saw him first walked over to meet him. Nathan nodded toward the van. "How's Buck?"

Shaking his head, JD spoke quietly. "He won't move. Can't get him to lay down or drink anything. He just keeps sitting there talking about how Vin being shot is his fault." The young agent looked hopefully up at Nathan. "He's not right, is he?"

Nathan continued to walk putting his arm round JD shoulders. "Let's just see if we can get him to go back to the office with you and Josiah. I can let you know what's happening here."

Reaching the van, JD turned and looked at Nathan. "Have you heard anything? Vin, he... And Chris! Nathan he looked so exhausted. Like he was trying to keep Vin alive with his own energy or something."

Smiling at the young man's wisdom, Nathan placed both hands on JD's shoulders facing him. "I think you maybe be right, JD. There seems to be some kind of connection between them. Like an energy force between them. Vin's drawing his energy from Chris right now. They say he's still in surgery but doing okay. Do me a favor. You take care of Buck. We all know it wasn't his fault but you're the only one he'll listen to. I'll call you as soon as we hear anything." Nathan finished talking as Josiah stepped out and let JD inside.

"Brother Nathan? How's our young friend doing?" Josiah walked a few steps away so his voice wouldn't be heard in the van.

"It's bad, Josiah. He's been in surgery a long time. Last word we had was they were gonna try and stabilize his pelvic bone with a plate. The bullet's force almost broke it in two pieces. Chris is just sitting there. Only reason I know he's alive is I can see the blanket move when he breathes. I was telling JD. It's like Vin is using Chris's energy to survive. I'm worried about Chris. If Vin doesn't make it...?" Nathan wiped at the tears trying to form in his eyes.

Josiah reached out and hugged Nathan. "We're strong together Nathan. This team is family. I've seen Chris with Vin. See the same thing with JD and Buck. Vin may have only been with us a couple days but he was family from the minute he stepped out of that elevator. There's a light in all of us that wasn't there before. That light is named Vin Tanner. I know in my soul that God knows we still need that young man. He's not gonna take him so soon. Nope. Everything's gonna be fine. You just keep watch over those three in there. I'll take care of things here."

Nathan reached out and grabbed Josiah's hand. Giving Josiah a smile and a nod, Nathan made is way back to the waiting room. Both men moved with a purpose. There was family to look after and family mattered.

Chapter 19

Chris Larabee heard the movement around him. Felt Ezra's hands place a blanket around him but his mind couldn't focus. Another presence was pulling him; demanding his awareness and strength. Memories of waking in the night to the sounds of his son, Adam calling him. His instant response even while still half asleep. It was as natural as breathing. His mind and body could no more hold back from giving than his heart would stop loving his dead wife and son. But this memory and presence was more immediate and it needed him now. So he let his head drop down on his hands again and his eyes closed softly.

Five floors above Chris, the anesthesiologist watched as Vin Tanner's heart rate slowed became regular. His blood pressure had been steady for the last fifteen minutes. Casting a glance toward the orthopedic surgeon, she gave him a questioning look and he stood back placing his bloody gloves against his gown.

"How we doing, Carla?" He looked up at the monitors and was satisfied by the vital signs he saw there. "Vitals look good. I'm five minutes away from finishing here. Don't think we lost much bone, but this young man isn't gonna be doing any dancing soon. If we can keep him quiet enough to let this heal, this plate should be enough. You can start bringing him up." Seeing her nod, he continued. "You have to give him any drugs to help him with his pressure?"

Carla started easing up on the anesthesia and spoke as she concentrated. "I didn't, although it surprises me. With all the blood loss I was expecting that he would have lost his natural body's ability to maintain a blood pressure. But just when I thought I was going to have to add some epinephrine, his blood pressure just inched up." Opening up another unit of blood, she turned to the surgeon. "It's almost like his body got a boost of energy from someplace." Seeing the look of suspicion on the man's face, Carla shrugged and looked down at her patient. "Well, he's young and strong. Helps to be in good shape if you're gonna stand in the way of a bullet." She smiled grimly.

The surgeon nodded and stepped back looking at the resident. "I want this kid on bed rest. Flat bed rest. No bathrooms, No flexing at the hip. I know the nursing staff knows this just make sure you write it in your orders and that his family understands." The resident looked up from his suturing and nodded. "Okay then let's get him settled in the ICU."

The nurses were waiting as Vin's bed was rolled into his cubical. The OR staff had placed him carefully on his special care bed and wheeled him to the ICU. Knowing that he was going to be on his back for a week or so, they had ordered a special bed.

"I want him asleep overnight on the ventilator. Make sure he's asleep and not moving. Use propofol if you have to." The orthopedic surgeon stood beside Vin's nurse and looked on as his patient was settled. "He can't be moved at all. No turning. Not even tilting him on his side. That plate holding his pelvis together isn't going to take much stress."

Finally attached to a series of lines that monitored his vital signs and breathing, Vin rested under heavy sedation. The only sounds in the room were the hiss of the ventilator as it assisted Vin's breathing and the rapid beeping of his heartbeat.

Jack Pastor, Vin's orthopedic surgeon, walked toward the emergency room waiting. Sometimes this was the toughest part of the job. Fortunately for the young ATF agent's family the news was going to be good. It would be a long recovery but the outcome should be okay.

Opening the door Pastor looked around taking in the various groups. "I'm looking for family or friends of a Vin Tanner?" Seeing two men sit up quickly, he headed in their direction.

Nathan and Ezra looked up quickly from their reading. Nathan stood and moved toward Chris who was still lying with his eyes closed. Nathan reached out his hand and said. "We are, Doctor." After shaking the doctor's hand, he reached down and softly shook Chris's shoulder. "Chris? Chris! Wake up. Vin's doctor is here."

Ezra watched carefully for signs of Chris waking up, but saw nothing. "I'm sorry, Dr. Pastor, Mr. Larabee (Ezra indicated with his hand) has been exhausted from his efforts to save Mr. Tanner. We'll fill him in after you've finished here."

Looking at the handsome blonde man resting his head on the table, the doctor nodded and looked at Nathan. "Well, let's sit and I'll tell you about your friend." Ezra and Nathan sat on the sofa next to the doctor. "He made it through surgery just fine. We were able to repair his artery and restore his blood volume. I'm an orthopedic surgeon. Mr. Tanner's pelvis was broken along the left side by the force of the bullet. I was able to put a plate inside to pull the parts back together. He's very strong. I didn't expect him to come out of surgery without some type of drug to support his blood pressure but he got strength from somewhere." Taking a deep breath, he continued. "There will be a long recovery. He'll be on strict bed rest for at least ten days to two weeks. I'm leaving him on the breathing machine over night to make sure his vital signs remain okay. Then we'll try and take it out in the morning."

Ezra shook his head smiling slightly while Nathan grinned. "Somehow I don't see our young sharpshooter as tolerating a breathing tube for very long."

The doctor smiled too. "Well, I can certainly understand. However, we have started a drug called propofol that will keep him in a dream-like state until we turn it off. He will awaken shortly after wards and not have the narcotic hangover that generally makes it difficult for a patient to wake up quickly. As long as he remains stable, we'll take out the tube almost immediately so he won't have to tolerate it long."

"That's real good news, doctor. Real good news. Will we be able to see Vin tonight? We'll wake up Chris and bring him along." Nathan stood and moved with the Pastor to Chris's chair.

Pastor looked down at Chris reaching out to lay his hand on a long slender wrist. Feeling for a pulse, Pastor spoke. "Yes, ah...he's in the ICU on the third floor. Just go to the nurse's station in about thirty minutes." Feeling the thin rapid pulse under his fingers, Pastor lowered his face to Chris's level.

Looking up at Nathan he asked. "What's your friend's name?"

Looking alarmed, Nathan quickly moved to the opposite side of Chris's chair. "Chris Larabee. What's wrong?"

"Mr. Larabee? Mr. Larabee?" Looking up at Ezra, Pastor felt Chris begin to stir under his hand. "Why don't you go to the ER and tell the triage nurse we need a stretcher out here." Seeing the grim look on the doctor's face, Ezra turned quickly and moved toward the door.

Chris heard a voice. It was far away and annoying. He was so very tired. Tired to the bone and only wanted to sleep. His head was too heavy to lift and he felt like his heart was pounding rapidly inside his chest. Bad. He just felt bad.

There was no other word. He tried and finally succeeded in opening his eyes slightly.

"Mr. Larabee? Can you lift your head?" With Nathan's help, Pastor lifted Chris's head and saw right away how pale and sweaty Chris was.

Nathan supported the back of Chris's head and noted the cool clammy feel of the skin underneath his hand. Chris won't or couldn't open his eyes enough to respond. Hearing a stretcher heading their way, Nathan slipped the blanket from around Chris's shoulders. When the stretcher arrived, he and the doctor lifted Chris on the stretcher.

Grabbing a blood pressure machine, Pastor slapped it quickly around Chris's left arm. Looking at the triage nurse, he kept his fingers on Chris's neck. The pulse was still rapid and much too weak for his liking. "I think we've got a case of heat exhaustion here. Was he on the rooftop helping to save his friend earlier?" Watching as the machine told him Chris's blood pressure was only 75/35, he started pushing the stretcher toward the ER.

Ezra cleared the way as Nathan and the doctor moved the stretcher behind him. The triage nurse quickly moved to a cubicle motioning to a nurse with her hand. "Monica? Need some help over here."

The nurse moved into the room followed closely by the ER resident. Pastor was already starting an intravenous infusion into Chris's arm vein by the time Chris was attached to a monitor. Opening the fluids so they would run very quickly, Monica noted Chris's heart rate. "His rate is 125 beats a minute." Waiting for the blood pressure machine to work again, she finished placing probes on Chris to check how well his body was getting oxygen. Not liking the reading she got, Monica applied supplemental oxygen by mask to Chris's face.

"Let's start another IV in his other arm and push some Hespan through it please." The ER resident looked from Chris's vital signs to Dr. Pastor questioningly. "What do we have, Dr. Pastor?" Watching the blood pressure reading still read below normal, he placed a thermometer under Chris's tongue.

"Not sure, Dr. Kelly. These men can give you a better history. I just finished emergency surgery on his friend who took a bullet in his femoral artery about two hours ago. This man was helping hold pressure on the groin wound. That blood soaking his clothing is his friend's. May be exhaustion? We couldn't wake him up to tell him about his friend." Seeing the ER staff still looking at him, he continued. "The agent came through surgery sick but should be fine."

Nodding, the ER resident read Chris's temperature. It was 103.a

Chapter 20

Checking his patient's blood pressure once more the resident, Charles Meeks, asked for more intravenous fluids. Ordering an infusion of a liter of lactated ringers solution, he had the nurse draw a blood panel and electrolyte test. "And let's get these clothes off Agent Larabee and put him in a hospital gown. Can we start cooling him down with alcohol and ice bath?" Monica approached Chris' cubical holding out a slip of paper.

"Dr. Meeks? His blood glucose is only 32. Do you want to give him some dextrose in his IV?"

Taking the paper from the nurse, he shook his head approving her suggestion. "Yes, let's give him an ampoule of D50 and check his blood sugar in another 20 minutes." Looking at Nathan and Ezra, Meeks crossed the room intending to ask them questions about Chris's medical history. Before he could continue, a beeper sounded in the room. Both Pastor and Meeks checked their beepers. Pastor spoke first.

"It's mine. Excuse me a minute."

Pastor moved toward a phone and dialed a number. Listened intently for a few minutes then related an order and hung up. Moving quickly toward Chris's cubical, Pastor stopped at the door. "I'm gonna have to head up to the SICU." Seeing Nathan and Ezra look with concern in his direction. "Yes, it's your friend. He seems to be having blood pressure problems of his own. I'm going to check on him. I'll call down when I know more." Nodding to Meeks, Pastor moved quickly toward the elevators.


Chris Larabee could feel the cool air hitting his chest and arms. He was vaguely aware of voices around him but was unable to respond. He tried to open his eyes but the necessary energy to accomplish even that one small task wasn't available. A moment later he felt a stinging in his arm. A strange coldness worked its way beneath his skin and continued up past his elbow before emptying into his exhausted body.

Nathan watched the nurse give Chris the dextrose through the IV in Chris's arm. He had thought he had seen Chris's eyelashes flutter, but he couldn't be sure. Noticing that Chris's heartbeat was now slower, Nathan prayed that the cooling fluids would work and that Chris's blood pressure would soon be normal. Waiting for the blood pressure cuff to register, Nathan moved to the head of the stretcher. Leaning down he placed his lips close to Chris's ear.

"Chris? Chris, can you hear me? It's Nathan. You're in the emergency room. You passed out but you're going to be all right." Looking up Nathan saw that Chris's blood pressure was almost normal. Noticing movement, Nathan turned his head to see Chris' s dull green eyes staring at him.

Chris was disoriented and confused, not completely sure of where he was or just what was happening to him. But he could feel energy flowing through his veins making him stronger... Strong enough to open his eyes. When his vision cleared he found himself staring at the concerned face of Nathan Jackson. Turning his head in the opposite direction he saw a woman dressed in blue scrubs withdrawing a syringe from his arm. Ezra was standing behind her, a worried look replacing his usually calm facade.

"What the hell? " His voice sounded thick and weak even to his own ears. A cool hand lifted his head and Nathan put a straw to his mouth. Taking a long drink, Chris closed his eyes and let his head fall back on the pillow.

"Take at easy, Mr. Larabee. You are in the emergency room. The nurses and doctors are giving you fluids and supplemental sugar to restore you to your previous state of health." Ezra kept his voice low and soothing as he talked.

Dr. Meeks moved along side Chris's stretcher and flicked a flashlight across his eyes. Blinking Chris made to move his head but was caught by the doctor's hand. "Hold on, Mr. Larabee. Just give me a minute to check you out."

Chris submitted quietly to the doctor's physical and tried to collect his thoughts. Suddenly remembering, Chris tried to sit up reaching out for Nathan in the process. "Nathan? Vin! He...we were doing CPR! What?" Chris began to shake as Nathan grabbed his shoulder pushing him back down to his stretcher.

"Chris? Chris!" Nathan had to raise his voice to get Chris's attention. The senior agent was still pale and weak despite the fluids he had been given. Seeing Chris try and focus on him, Nathan turned Chris's chin so their eyes were locked. "Vin's okay! He came through surgery just fine. You hear me? Chris?"

Ezra brought the juice the nurse had given him. He handed Nathan a cup with two small tablets inside. Turning he again, Ezra held out a carton of juice.

"Mr. Larabee. The nurse gave me some Tylenol for you to swallow. Mr. Jackson, if you please?" Chris accepted the Tylenol and Ezra offered the straw to him. " Drink this slowly now. You need to regain your strength so you can visit Mr. Tanner."

Chris's eyes flicked in his direction and Ezra once again offered him the juice. Smiling smugly he watched as Chris drank the entire container. Ezra looked over at Nathan with a satisfied look.

"Good, Chris. Now you just rest till we find out what your blood tests say." Seeing Chris start to sit up, Nathan frowned. "Chris? Don't do it. Don't you give me any grief. I got too many people to worry about here. Docs aren't gonna let you see Vin until you've gotten some rest."

Chris shook his head and tried again to sit up. "Nathan. I need to know about Vin. Where is he? I want to see him." Feeling his strength fading, he let Nathan push him back to the stretcher once more.

"He's in the intensive care unit over night, Chris. They fixed his artery and put a plate on his fractured pelvis, but Dr. Pastor says he'll be fine. Now you close your eyes and rest. I'll let you know when we can see Vin."

Nathan looked from Chris to Ezra and sighed as he felt Chris stop resisting and relax. Sitting down in a chair, Nathan looked again at the clock. It had been almost six hours since their arrival. Feeling exhaustion seeping into his bones, he closed his eyes and waited.


Dr. Pastor hurried into the ICU and headed toward Tanner's bed. There was a collection of residents and nurses around the bed. Clara, the anesthesiologist was stationed at the foot of the bed giving orders to Vin's nurse.

"Clara? What's going on?" Pastor scanned Vin's vital signs noted the low blood pressure and slow heart rate.

"Not sure, Jack. After you left, he was fine. About ten minutes ago his heart suddenly slowed and his blood pressure dropped in to the sixties. I gave him a small dose of epinephrine and a bottle of albumin, but his pressure started to sag again. I started a dopamine infusion to help support his blood pressure and he seems better now."

Pastor moved to feel the pulses in Vin's feet. They were present but weak and his left foot was definitely cooler than his right, but the color and capillary refill were good. Turning back to Carla, he shook his head.

"Well, let's watch him closely. Probably a lot of fluid shifting going on. His blood pressure is bound to be up and down for a few hours. Let me know if it continues to be a problem." The ICU RN nodded and went back to checking Vin's IV fluids.

Taking a last look at his young patient, Pastor walked to the locker to change into fresh cloths. Sighing heavily, he somehow knew was going to be a long night. Reaching for a fresh set of scrubs, he moved to the desk and picked up the phone to dial the Emergency room.

Chapter 21

Nathan put down the phone and moved back to join Ezra and Chris. Dr. Meeks had arranged a room for Chris after his electrolyte tests showed he was low in potassium and magnesium. He wanted Chris to receive infusions of these elements as well as some more fluids before releasing him sometime tomorrow.

Pulling Ezra aside, Nathan quickly filled him in on Vin's condition. "He said one of us could come to the SICU to sit with Vin."

Ezra looked toward Chris who was still asleep. "I'll stay with Chris. You go up and see to Vin. You're more comfortable with all that equipment and things. I'll call Josiah and JD fill them in too."

Nathan nodded in agreement and walked over to Chris's bedside. "You rest up, Chris. I'm gonna see to Vin till you're feeling better." Straightening Chris's blankets around his shoulders, he nodded to Ezra and headed towards the elevators.

Ezra pulled his chair up beside Chris's stretcher and pulled out his cell phone. Dialing the office number, he waited until someone answered.


JD paused to stare again at Buck. Since arriving back at their office, Josiah had taken a shower and changed clothes. He had insisted that JD do the same but met with resistance when he approached Buck. "Vin's probably dead and you want me to change clothes? Right, Josiah that is exactly what I want to do!" Standing again Buck started to pace. The physical movement was somehow comforting to him. Helped him to focus on something besides the sight of Vin Tanner covered with blood. The sight of Nathan beating on his chest.

JD came up beside Josiah and was about to speak when the phone rang. "I'll get it!" JD raced to his desk and picked up his phone. "Agent Dunne."

"JD? This is Ezra." Ezra smiled as JD started in on a litany of questions.

"Mr. Dunne. Perhaps if you would let me just relate events in my own fashion, things will go faster. And if you don't mind, I really need to speak to Josiah. Is that satisfactory?" Ezra waited for JD to bring Josiah to the phone.

"Ezra? How is everything?" Josiah turned his back on JD and Buck wanted his face to be shielded in case the news was bad.

"Mr. Sanchez, how good to hear your voice. Well, things are on hold here. Mr. Tanner made it through surgery. He is currently in the intensive care unit with Nathan. They were able to successfully repair his artery and put in a plate to hold his fractured pelvis together. He will be in the hospital for at least two weeks." Ezra paused and took a sip of his coffee. Watching closely he saw Chris moan and lick his dry lips.

"Hold on a minute, Mr. Sanchez." Putting his phone down, Ezra offered a straw to Chris who drank without opening his eyes. Sighing, Chris fell back to sleep without awakening. "Josiah?" Ezra picked up his phone ready to continue talking.

"Yeah, Ezra. I'm here. Was just telling Buck and JD the good news. You said Nathan was with Vin. Where's Chris?" Josiah watched Buck sitting with his head in his hands being comforted by JD.

"Mr. Larabee has incurred a small mishap." Not giving Josiah anytime to comment, he continued. "Evidently while holding pressure on Vin's injury a top the roof, he exerted himself beyond his body's ability. Although we were not aware, Mr. Larabee was suffering from heat exhaustion. He collapsed and the doctor's found it necessary to give him intravenous fluids to help him recover. He will be spending the night here at the hospital to recover."

Settling himself on the chair again, he listened to the questions Josiah asked. "I believe it would be best for you to stay with Mr. Dunne and Wilmington. There is nothing that you can do here, but I have a feeling Mr. Wilmington is going to need some counseling in order to put things in perspective." Ezra listened to Josiah's reply and nodded his head in agreement.

"I believe that would be a good idea. Those two do not need to be alone tonight. I'll phone you later with an update and Chris's room number." Ending his call, Ezra got up as two orderlies approached along with Chris's nurse.

"These men will take Mr. Larabee to his room. You may follow with them. Dr. Meeks told me to tell you that he felt Mr. Larabee would be able to be released later in the morning." Ezra nodded his thanks and followed Chris's stretcher down the hallway.


Nathan stopped at the doors to the Surgical Intensive Care unit. Saying a silent prayer, Nathan pushed the automatic door panel and walked to the nurse's station. Asking for Vin's nurse, Nathan waited scanning the room. He couldn't make out Vin in any of the cubicles next to the station. Seeing a petite brunette coming his way, Nathan focused on her.

"Hi, I'm Gayla, Mr. Tanner's nurse. You are?" She took Nathan's hand and started to lead him around the circle of cubicles.

"Nathan Jackson. I'm a member of Vin's ATF team. I'm the team's unofficial medic." Nathan almost ran into Gayla as she stopped and turned around suddenly.

"Are you the one that started his primary care in the field? Seeing Nathan nod 'yes' she smiled and again headed toward Vin. "From what the city EMS workers said he wouldn't have made it to the hospital if you hadn't been there. Mr. Tanner is very lucky to have such talented and loyal friends."

Stopping outside a cubical, Gayla picked up some towels and wash cloths and moved to Vin's bed.

Nathan followed slowly. Taking in the figure in the bed before him, Nathan wasn't at all sure it was Vin. The figure was quite pale; Vin had an almost waxy look about him. A breathing tube connected Vin to a ventilator while a set of infusion pumps administered drugs and fluids into his body. His face and hands were swollen and he looked so much smaller in his sedated state. Nathan moved forward and getting the okay from Gayla, picked up Vin's limp hand and held it.

Scanning the monitors, Nathan saw that Vin's heart rate was a little fast but at least regular. The saw that an arterial line had been placed in Vin's left radial artery at the wrist and was reading a constant blood pressure. It varied a great deal minute to minute but the readings were all within normal limits. He noticed Gayla looking at him.

"How's he doing?" Nathan asked.

"Well, he's had a rough recovery. The last hour is the only one where his blood pressure hasn't been all over the place. But it looks like we have given him enough fluids and with the dopamine, he's doing nicely." Seeing Nathan staring at Vin's face. "His face and hands are swollen from all the volume he's had infused. Over the next two or three days that will go away." Seeing Nathan give a small nod, she continued. "Does Mr. Tanner have any family that we need to contact?"

Nathan looked up from watching Vin's chest rise and fall with the ventilator. "He.... I'm sorry Miss ...I'm not sure. Ah, Vin he just joined the team three days ago as a replacement for our other sharpshooter. We've spent all that time getting ready for the bust."

Reaching out to take Vin's hand again, Nathan continued. "I can have one of the team check his personal files. I've not heard him mention anyone. Guess we're all he's got right now."

Gayla gathered some paper work and went toward the small desk at the entrance to the cubical. "Well, listen, I have some charting to catch up on so why don't you sit with him for a little while."


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